US Home energy management company Tendril and Netherlands-based energy supplier Essent, part of the RWE Group, are collaborating on what is described as the first-of-its-kind smart energy application crowdsourcing project.
The idea is to use the Tendril Connect platform to link some of Essent’s smart meter-enabled residential customers with web and mobile application developers from around the world. The app developers will use Tendril’s platform to access usage data from energy meters and create innovative consumer applications for the program participants.
After new apps have been tested, Essent will make them available to participating households, who will be able to provide feedback to developers and even rate the applications. The added incentive for developers is that novel applications could grab the attention of Essent’s parent company RWE, one of the top five European energy companies.
To help jumpstart the effort, Essent planned to give €1,000 to the developer who builds the best app using Tendril’s APIs at The Kings of Code Hack Battle in Amsterdam last week. Essent will also provide prizes for the app that receives the best rating from consumers in the crowdsourcing program.
App developers who want to take part in the app project should visit www.essent.nl/co-creation.
Certainly a step in the right direction. I very much agree with the comment from Arjan van der Eijk, director, smart energy, Essent, who said that “For consumers, the real value of smart meters comes not from the meter itself, but from innovative, compelling applications that use analytics and other information to turn meter data into a relevant message and action for the consumer”.
Absolutely. There is a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of smart meters as if they were an end in themselves. But smart meters are really only a gateway to providing energy consumers with a lot of interesting capabilities to manage energy use in the home. Much of this won’t happen until full-blown smart grids are in place, still a long way off in the UK, despite a firm smart meter implementation plan.
On the one hand, the meters will ultimately enable consumers to match power use with differential tariffs, so you can do the washing when energy is cheaper, for example. On the other hand, the meters can be at the centre of a home energy management system that could potentially run a range of novel applications to control household equipment. There’s a lot such apps could do, hopefully this competition will demonstrate a few.